School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 4-7 Organizational problems mar these books. The question-and-answer section that appears before the text will prove discouraging to beginners with limited background in the subject. The first question in The New Astronomy is, ``If we think of the electromagnetic spectrum as a musical scale, how many `octaves' does it cover?''yet Darling has not yet defined ``electromagnetic spectrum'' or explained its relation to astronomy. One answer given in The Stars is that the sun is ``A `G-type' yellow dwarf,'' but nowhere is there a list of star types or definition of a ``G-type'' star. In the body of the book, readability improves. The texts, liberally sprinkled with photos, drawings and white space, are logically arranged and offer some insights not usually found for this grade level. But even here, readers need some background. There are few diagrams, and some of these are misleading. Of the three books, The Galaxies fares best, having perhaps the most unified and easily covered subject. Stars suffers more, for more must be omitted in the attempt to cover types of stars, how they form and die and where they are. Stars and Galaxies (Watts, 1982) by Necia H. Apfel has a less enticing appearance, but her explanations are better. Darling's The New Astronomy tries to cover the machinery used to detect anything the universe may send our way, what the different signals are and how they've been interpreted. He introduces some novel concepts, e.g., the difference in cause between thermal and non-thermal radiation, but he doesn't tell how they can be distinguished once they reach Earth, or what it means. Fred D'Ignacio's The New Astronomy (Watts, 1982) covers the subject at greater length and leaves out the more esoteric points, making his book less inspiring to committed amateur astronomers but more comprehensible to beginners. Margaret L. Chatham, formerly at Smithtown Lib., N.Y.
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